Paddling Our Wild Shores

Padre Island National Seashore, Texas

The 65-mile coast is straight and exposed on the east side, where it is open to the big surf of the gulf, and more protected, and more convoluted, on the west. Padre Island lies 25 miles south of Corpus Christi, and most of its shoreline is accessible only by very challenging four-wheel-drive road.

Although paddling isn't a park highlight, the shores south of the paved road are quite wild and scenic, full of dunes, beach grass, shorebirds, and the occasional Kemp's ridley sea turtle (endangered). A boat launch at the Bird Island Basin is easy to reach on the north end of the island, and trips can also be launched on the west side from Yarborough Pass (about 10 miles down the four-wheel-drive road).

Several designated campgrounds are maintained, and primitive camping is permitted along the entire coast. Write or call the park for details and local contacts.


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